Clever structural engineer, Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins), is married to beautiful Jennifer (Embeth Davidtz); when he discovers she is having an affair, he shoots her in the head in their home, leaving her in a coma. Her lover is LAPD Detective Rob Nunally (Billy Burke), first on the crime scene. Crawford is soon in court for attempted murder, with his signed confession certain to make it an open and shut case for aspiring young Assistant DA Willy Beachum (Ryan Gosling). It should be Beachum's last case before taking a high salary job at a prestigious law firm, under the mentorship of senior associate Nikki Gardner (Rosamund Pike). But with Crawford representing himself all too well and Beachum's distracted performance, things do not go as he imagined. And Crawford's plea for an acquittal is Beachum's professional death notice, unless he finds a way to close the case in his favour.
Review by Louise Keller:
Ethics, morals and the will to win are the core issues of Fracture, a gripping puzzle of a thriller that plays out as a mind game between two men. 'Knowledge is pain,' says Anthony Hopkins' fracture specialist Crawford, before shooting his unfaithful wife at point blank range. It may seem like an open and shut case, but like Gregory Hoblit's enthralling film, we soon learn there is much more to this than meets the eye.
Hopkins is well skilled at fabricating a monster, yet he injects plenty of humanity in Crawford, whose melancholy encases him like a shroud. With a 97% conviction rate Ryan Gosling's assistant district attorney Willie Beachum is cocky and arrogant, as he is about to step into the fast lane of corporate law and big bucks. Believing this to be his last case, he underestimates Crawford and the situation, as they begin a battle of wits and wills. Everybody has a weak spot, Crawford tells Willie, and gloats that he has pinpointed his. The pursuer becomes the prey as tables are turned, and a thrilling cat and mouse game ensues.
With his reputation, job and future on the line, Willie's strength becomes his weakness. Winning is everything - but at what cost? Does winning count if you cheat? And how sweet is the smell of success if you cannot catch the one that got away? With a highly contained performance almost devoid of mannerisms, Hopkins is superb as the vengeful cuckolded husband, while Gosling plays his counterpart with complete adroitness. Filled with surprises, this is a film that takes us in directions we are not expecting. Who will get away with what? The moody soundtrack greatly enhances the tension, which never abates from the very first frame.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins) has a knack for spotting weakspots which he developed checking eggs for the slightest hair fracture ... now he uses that pedanticism on human beings. His plan for the perfect murder, motivated by his wife's secret affair, is a cold blooded exercise cleverly conceived by the writers, which we instinctively know is flawed - but we can't tell where or how. Nor can the LAPD's Beachum.
Hopkins and Ryan Gosling face off in this stylish thriller as two headstrong men of different eras; Hopkins has the gravitas of age and the compressed layers of roles, while Gosling works on his edgy freshness. The friction is cinematically satisfying, and the clarity of storytelling helps engage us.
The juiciest bit of the story comes from the challenge faced by Beachum: at a crucial moment (for him as well as us) he has to decide if he will take planted evidence to help convict the guilty as hell Crawford. There are no moral challenges for Crawford, though, whose prime motivation is to succeed in engineering the perfect crime. As an engineer, he sees this as the pinnacle of his craft - at the deepest level. Nice work from all concerned, helping to cover up the flaws and weaknesses with brio.
Absorbing entertainment as it is, Fracture skates over some nagging questions about its characters, leaving us to conjecture ... A couple of continuity gaffes are allowed to intrude, but the film survives these with its determination to hook us with the ultimate question: will he get away with it?
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CAST: Anthony Hopkins, Ryan Gosling, David Strathairn, Rosamund Pike, Embeth Davidtz, Billy Burke, Cliff Curtis, Fiona Shaw
PRODUCER: Charles Weinstock
DIRECTOR: Gregory Hoblit
SCRIPT: Daniel Pyne, Glenn Gers
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Kramer Morgenthau
EDITOR: David Rosenbloom
MUSIC: Mychael Danna, Jeff Danna
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Paul Eads
RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 2, 2007
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.